Sustainable advances in SLA/DLP 3D printing materials and processes
3D printing is an essential tool for rapid prototyping in a variety of sectors such as automotive and public health. The 3D printing market is booming, and it is projected that it will continue to thrive in the coming years. Unfortunately, this rapid growth has led to an alarming increase in the amount of 3D printed plastic waste. 3D printing processes such as stereolithography (SLA) and digital light projection (DLP) in particular generally produce petroleum-based thermosets that are further worsening the plastic pollution problem. To mitigate this 3D printed plastic waste, sustainable alternatives to current 3D printing materials must be developed. The present review provides a comprehensive overview of the sustainable advances in SLA/DLP 3D printing to date and offers a perspective on future directions to improve sustainability in this field. The entire life cycle of 3D printed parts has been assessed by considering the feedstock selection and the end-of-use of the material. The feedstock selection section details how renewable feedstocks (from lignocellulosic biomass, oils, and animal products) or waste feedstocks (e.g., waste cooking oil) have been used to develop SLA/DLP resins. The end-of-use section describes how materials can be reprocessed (e.g. thermoplastic materials or covalent adaptable networks) or degraded (through enzymatic or acid/base hydrolysis of sensitive linkages) after end-of-use. In addition, studies that have employed green chemistry principles in their resin synthesis and/or have shown their sustainable 3D printed parts to have mechanical properties comparable to commercial materials have been highlighted. This review also investigates how aspects of sustainability such as recycling for feedstock/end-of-use or biodegradation of 3D printed parts in natural environments can be incorporated as future research directions in SLA/DLP.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Green Chemistry Reviews